UNDERSTANDING FOUR BASIC PROCESSES TO A HEALTHY DIGESTIVE SYSTEM IN HORSES
In my years of manufacturing products for both human and equines, I have seen a massive increase in new products to fix a variety of problems.
If we don't find the true cause of the problem, we will be continually forced to use treatment based medicines and more supplements. Treating a symptom is never fixing the cause and usually results in transferring to yet another problem. With all the information available, not surprisingly, many horse owners are confused how to achieve optimum health in their horses.
I sincerely encourage you to take some time to learn the simplicity of the fundamental rules of good equine health. If a small sentence can simplify what I have written below, it would be ...
"The entire body is like a kitchen & several septic tanks".
I am extremely passionate about maintaining horse's good health. I have spent a lifetime studying horse behaviour and health along side balance in movement. We often ignore our gut feelings due to bombardment of “academics without consciousness” and can get caught up in intellectuality. I feel the most important place to begin is in the following four processes:
The breakdown of food is accomplished through enzyme action, which begins in the mouth. The stomach also produces digestive enzymes.
When foods are not properly digested (broken down), gas is created from fermentation. Heavy feeding of grains and seeds is extremely acid forming and the digestive system has to work hard to break these down.
So we are advised to add digestive enzymes such as pre-biotic and pro-biotic. Ideally it is not advisable to add these, as the body will then slow down and eventually stop producing its own digestive enzymes. However due to the level of problems we are faced with sometimes it is temporarily (very short term) assisting. We must be mindful that this is not the way to regeneration of tissue and very often leads to on going dependency for these supplements. You may find rapid deterioration in the horse when supplemented digestive enzymes are removed from the diet and this leads us to believe they are beneficial. They are not!
Digestion is the first process that must take place. If your horse is lacking in condition and/or muscle, it is strongly possible the horse is not breaking down foods adequately.
Once food is broken down the horse must absorb these building materials, fuels that include tissue salts, vitamins, tannins alkaloids, flavins etc. These components are now carried by the bloodstream to the cells for energy, stimulation, building and repairing.
Absorption is accomplished through the villi and small pores all along the mucous membrane of the small and large intestines. Just as we do, horses suffer from mucoid plaque, which can develop in the GI tract. Mucoid plaque blocks the nutritional components of their food from being absorbed adequately. Therefore if a horse is malnourished and lacking muscle, a malabsorption issue must be considered.
The blood system and all of its highways are the transport system. Most absorbed nutrition must first pass the inspection of the liver. The liver can create further chemical changes, store nutrients, or just pass them on to the rest of the body for utilisation. The liver is a miraculous organ. It can create it's own amino acids, change sugars to fats and vice versa. The liver can create and destroy.
The horse’s digestive system is designed for approximately 18 hours per day of consumption. Acids are corrosive to the mucosa and cause inflammation. Inflammation in turn causes pain.
When horses become too acidic, nutrition becomes anionic (coagulating). In other words, fats, fuels and minerals etc get sticky and clump together. Fats begin to bond to the walls of vessels in hope of buffering this inflammation. Cholesterol is the most common anti-inflammatory lipid in the body to fight this inflammation. When tissue becomes acidic, the liver will produce more cholesterol to fight it. Bloods thicken and minerals when fed in isolation may cause rock type stones, which often show as kidney stones or bone spurs and the like.
Acidic clumped nutrition can’t be absorbed. This creates cellular starvation, which then causes hypo-active conditions of glands and organs, loss of muscle tissue and eventually death.
Many horses today are failing in the utilisation of nutrition to varying degrees.
Last but not least, “what goes in must come out”. Good elimination of the digestive tract means bowels moving regularly, with the consistency being plump, easily purged, and yet not loose. When wastes are not eliminated they cause congestion, which amplifies into solidified cells, and disease begins.
Sometimes cold like symptoms, runny eyes, coughs or scours occur when the body attempts to purge itself of mucus, parasites and toxins etc. We are often too hasty in treating theses detoxification symptoms therefore suppressing elimination. Obviously very careful observation is of paramount importance.
Many horses today are failing in the category of elimination to some extent, due to diet, pharmaceuticals and environment. By correcting horses digestion, absorption, utilisation not forgetting elimination, they can regain and maintain good health and live a disease free life!